Friends of the Earth is excited to announce that we have joined together with unions, community groups to become part of the recently launched Cooperative Power energy cooperative.
Cooperative Power is a newly formed cooperative for Australia's energy sector. This new model takes the power back from huge energy corporations, for the benefit of people and our planet. It's a new way for people to buy energy and have a say in how it's created and how much it costs.
The Cooperative Power vision is to have a socially and community-owned retailer that invests in and purchases community renewable energy, and subsidises the roll out of energy efficiency improvements as well as renewable energy infrastructure for working-class households. No one, and no community should be left behind by the transition.
Cooperative Power allows us to be a collective purchaser that can own the solutions we want to see.
Cooperative Power is only just getting started but their retail product partner - Energy Locals - is in the top three of the Green Electricity Guide for supporting renewable energy.
Through Cooperative Power we can invest in community renewable energy; such as solar plants, wind energy, battery storage and home energy efficiency. Together we can drive change rather than relying on a slow moving, private energy sector that is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels.
The initiative was founded and led by the National Union of Workers, and it started with winning a New Energy Jobs grant from the Victorian government in late 2015. The result was a feasibility study into the concept undertaken by the Institute of Sustainable Futures at the UTS.
Since that study a number of unions, environment and community groups have joined together as members to form Cooperative Power including:
- Australian Services Union Authorities & Services Branch
- BREAZE Inc. (Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions)
- Energy Innovation Co-operative Ltd
- Friends of the Earth
- National Tertiary Education Union
- Surf Coast Energy Group
- Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA
- Voices of the Valley
The idea is that the living members of Friends of the Earth and other organisations who are affiliated with Cooperative Power can access electricity without having to go through a traditional corporate retailer. This helps to bolster democratic membership-based structures, take corporate profit out of the retailing end of the electricity system, and then reinvest that surplus up the supply-chain into energy efficiency measures and community renewable generation.
We'll soon be inviting Friends of the Earth Members to 'make the switch' and sign up to Cooperative Power - stay tuned for more!